Food: Pre-Planning

Of course you need to start thinking about the all-important menu, but first you have to learn the basics about your playspace and the other teams with whom you'll be working. Consider walking through our online Road Map so you can visualize the steps the whole planning committee will be taking along the way, and how food fits into that picture.

Playspace basics
The planning process
The when, where, and what of food

Playspace basics

Site address:
Play equipment company:
Surfacing company:
Design Day date:
Site preparation date(s):
Date(s) of the playspace build:
Dates of town and planning meetings:

The planning process

Over the next several months, you will be in constant contact with your co-chair(s) and fellow team captains. If you don’t already know them, introduce yourself now! Ask your co-chair(s) for a complete listing of everyone’s names and contact information, including the best time to call. Read below for each team's roles and responsibilities.

Children’s (and youth) activities team:
Gets children and youth involved in every aspect of the project, including planning Design Day and Build Day activities for young people, as well as child-friendly fundraisers and promotional events and arranging child care during meetings and fundraisers.

Construction team:
These are your build overseers; they’ll be well-versed in the playspace equipment, hardware, tools, safety surfacing and site. The construction captain is also responsible for recruiting and training build captains – volunteer leaders who will supervise specific build tasks.

Food team:
Feeds volunteers during planning meetings, Design Day, fundraisers and the playspace build. They will be soliciting food donations throughout the community.

Fundraising team:
Raises all of the cash needed for the project – a huge job! Because both of your teams will be working to build enthusiasm and visibility for the project, it’s important to coordinate your activities. Every fundraiser is a chance to recruit volunteers, and every volunteer may be willing to donate money or materials! This team may also need your help staffing large fundraisers.

Logistics team:
Works behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly – they arrange for meeting spaces throughout the planning, plus Build Day parking, restroom facilities, electricity/water hook-up, tents, tables and chairs.

Public relations team:
These folks are the project bullhorn! It’s their responsibility to make sure that everyone in town knows about the upcoming build (which will help you recruit volunteers.) They will be working closely with local media and will also produce all project flyers, banners and posters – including those for volunteer recruitment.

Safety team:
This team has two main responsibilities: making sure that the playspace build is safe for everyone involved, and educating local children about playspace safety. They’ll secure bottled water, hard hats, work gloves, caution tape and other safety materials. They’ll also be responsible for creating safety-rules handouts, monitoring volunteers’ health during the build, and providing a skill-level tagging system for volunteers.

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The when, where, and what of food

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As Food Captain, you'll be responsible for providing food not only during the playspace build, but also during planning meetings and fundraisers. Talk with your co-chair(s) and fellow team captains about which upcoming events require food service.

The when and where

You’ll need to provide food for the following activities: Planning Meetings, Design Day, Community Fundraisers and Activities, Prep Days, Build Day.

For each, consider:

  • The meals or refreshments needed
  • Estimated number of people (Note: Estimate up. New people tend to show up when there’s free food! Consider handing out meal tickets and serving in a discreet location indoors.)
  • Are there kitchen facilities on site?

Menu ideas

Fried chicken or veggie burgers? Potato salad or kimchi? Food is a vital part of a community's identity, so look at the playspace project as a chance to express yourselves! Now that you know the where and when of the Food Team, it's time to brainstorm menu items. Remember to be inclusive and sensitive to people's food needs: you'll likely have vegetarians, diabetics, people with food allergies, and people who follow religious restrictions or low-fat diets. (Be sure to work with your Volunteer Recruitment and Children's Captains to collect specific information on participants.) Think of what your community has to offer and record your ideas!

  • Breakfast
  • Hot lunch
  • Cold lunch
  • Snacks
  • Beverages
  • Condiments
  • Cookware needed

Supplies set-up items

  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Utensils
  • Napkins
  • Serving dishes
  • Serving utensils
  • Cutting knife
  • Signs
  • Ice
  • Hand soap*

Set-up items

  • Tablecloths
  • Buckets*
  • Detergent
  • Refrigeration
  • Coolers
  • Food warmers
  • Extension cords
  • Trash bags

* Building a playspace is dirty work! Make sure you give volunteers a place to wash their hands.

Tip: Talk to the safety captain about who will be responsible for providing drinking water. You may want to double your efforts to be sure there’s plenty of water on hand.

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